Entering materials into the library catalog

All libraries should have some sort of a catalog containing information about the materials in the library collection. The purpose of this catalog is to provide access to the collection for the patrons and staff of the library. Some libraries use the traditional card catalog, many libraries have their catalog in a computerized format, and some libraries provide both a card and computer catalog for their patronsí use. 

When a new title arrives in the library, a bibliographic record with information about that item is created for the library catalog. This information includes the author, title, edition, publisher and date of publication, the number of pages or format of the item, and any series that the item may be part of. Additionally, there may be other information that would be helpful for the library staff or patron, such as a summary of the story, a list of the contents or performers, information about bibliographies or additional items of local interest. These are included in the record for the library catalog. Also included are subject headings that will help the patron locate this item, and additional points of access, such as illustrators or second authors, that a patron may want to be able to locate. 

The final item of information added to the cataloging record is the call number, the address showing where to find the item in the library. For fiction, this usually consists of the authorís last name. For non-fiction this usually is made up of a number indicating the subject matter of the item, the authorís last name, and sometimes the date of the publication.

The above-mentioned information is called a catalog record. A catalog record is created for each individual title in the library. A library catalog is created when all of the catalog records are gathered and placed into a database. If the catalog is a computer catalog, the information may be directly entered into the computer by filling in each area of the record when prompted to do so by the program, or the information may be copied from a cataloging database and downloaded directly into the computer. 

Many libraries will purchase the cataloging for the items in their order directly from their vendor, and will receive a disc with the cataloging information on it that can be downloaded into their computer. If a library uses a card catalog, the information needed is typed onto a set of cards, providing access in the catalog for the author, title, subject headings, and any additional items such as series, illustrator, etc. These cards are filed alphabetically into the drawers of the card catalog so that patrons and staff can locate materials by each of the access points used.

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